Another piece in John Key’s plans to form a government fell into place on Wednesday with Maori Party MPs taking away a draft support agreement to consult with their members.
Prime Minister elect John Key already has pledges of support on confidence and supply from ACT and United Future and is moving closer to agreeing a wider deal around those promises.
This gives Key 65 votes in a 122-seat Parliament.
Key held a second round of talks on Wednesday with Maori Party co-leaders Tariana Turia and Pita Sharples, in a bid to sew up a total of 70 votes in support of his government.
Sharples said if he didn’t think there were gains for Maori in the proposals being offered by National, then the talks and *** would not be proceeding.
The co-leaders were reluctant to discuss details about what was on offer, but did say it included policy areas.
Key also confirmed that offers of ministerial positions had been made.
“The structure of all of the agreements we are trying to reach with ACT, United and the Maori Party are all the same,” Key said.
“It is fair to assume they would all have ministers outside of Cabinet for partners that support us in confidence and supply.”
Key said the deal with the Maori Party was about relationships between the two parties and a much broader issue of achieving better outcomes for Maori New Zealanders.
Maori Party MPs are now setting out on around 40 *** to see if members supported having a “mana enhancing arrangement”.
There would be no votes at the ***, but if more than 50 per cent of people spoke against then that would be message to the MPs, Turia said.
The feedback from leaders in Maoridom was that it was important to have a relationship with National.
“We wouldn’t have gone this far if we didn’t see gains,” Sharples said.
Key said he had been assured that the Maori Party could reach a decision by Sunday allowing him to announce a complete Cabinet line-up and support agreements just a week after the election.
There had been no meetings held with ACT and United Future today but there had been ongoing dialogue.
“It is moving forward, it is progressing,” Key said.
Turia said that prior to the election Maori Party members feared they would have to make a choice between Labour and National, but the decisive result for Key meant there was only one deal on the table.
On Wednesday Turia and Sharples arrived for the second round of talks about 15 minutes late and dodged waiting media by entering National’s offices through the back entrance.
The meeting ran longer then scheduled and the pair also tried to avoid the media when leaving, but were pursued by journalists and cornered near their offices in Parliament.
Once stopped they seemed happy to talk though reluctant to discuss any details.